EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER NEWS
The Oakridge School is pleased to announce the appointments of Christine Metoyer as Assistant Head of Upper School, Nicki Morgan as Director of the Early Childhood Center, and Kendra Walton '05 as the first full-time Alumni Relations Coordinator. Walton assumed her role Monday, April 1. Metoyer and Morgan will both begin Monday, July 1. Morgan succeeds Mrs. Betty Garton, who is retiring after 37 years of service to The Oakridge School.
Christine Metoyer, a seasoned educator and administrator, comes to Oakridge from Houston Christian High School where she most recently served as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. She has also served as an Interim Division Head and History Department Chair. Metoyer brings a vast array of talents to Oakridge. Her passion for teaching and learning partnered with her experience (22 years in education with the last 17 years at HCHS) will complement Head of Upper School Jim Andersen.
Metoyer hopes, “to lead teachers, inspire collaboration, build relationships across the community, and work on issues directly related to classroom instruction while teaming with other administrators to reach and teach students and advance the mission of Oakridge.”
Metoyer and her husband, Aaron, have two children.
Kendra Walton graduated from The Oakridge School in 2005. She joins the Oakridge faculty and staff in April after six years at BlueCross BlueShield of Texas. She is the mother of third grader Blake Buljan and becomes the seventh alumni staff member at Oakridge.
After graduating from The Oakridge School, Walton earned her degree in advertising and public relations from Texas Christian University. She has worked extensively in corporate communications and volunteered regularly at TCU, Oakridge and Ben Barber Innovation Academy.
"As a graduate and legacy parent, I am thrilled and honored to serve my alma mater," said Walton. "I look forward to building relationships with alumni, students and friends. Once an Owl, always an Owl!"
As an alumna, legacy parent, and Oakridge Parents' Club board member, Walton possesses an in-depth understanding of the Oakridge community. She is an effective networker and communicator, with strong interpersonal and technological skills. Walton has spent nine years in customer service and seven years in project management, and she loves a challenge and learning new things.
Nicki Morgan is a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Westpark Elementary in Benbrook. She has also taught kindergarten, first grade, and fourth grade. Her passion lies in early childhood education, and her objective is to create a safe, loving environment where students and teachers are challenged to grow in their areas of strength while teaching and equipping them with life skills and a rich, cross-curricular education.
Her strengths include leadership, encouragement, communication and management. Educated at the University of North Texas, Morgan is also certified in ESL. She started her career outside education, and she has been a teacher for eight years, earning Campus Teacher of the Year in 2015 at Jackie Carden Elementary School in Crowley.
In her Philosophy of Education, Morgan writes, "Being an educator is a gift. To have the opportunity to inspire, encourage, instill, direct, and guide young children is nothing to be taken lightly. As an educator, my philosophy is to discover each child's potential, and direct them to notice it, embrace it, and in return, learn to grow within it."
Morgan sees the role of the ECC teacher as one of a learning leader who creates an environment that is safe, nurturing, and challenging to each child. She believes in offering our youngest students hands-on opportunities and relevant, real-life examples of how to apply that knowledge, ultimately putting children in charge of their own learning. Morgan believes when children feel the shift from extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation, their love of learning ignites.
Morgan and her husband, Josh, have three children.
blewis - Posted Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019 1:17:04 PM
The Oakridge School Early Childhood Center is proud to join preschools, daycares, and other organizations across the United States in sponsoring a St. Jude Trike-A-Thon event during the week of April 22-26 to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®, one of the world's premier pediatric cancer research centers.
The week-long event will teach bike and riding-toy safety lessons using interactive stories featuring fun characters. At the conclusion of the week, students will bring their tricycles to the Early Childhood Center to practice what they've learned about safety from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Friday, April 26.
A key component to the activities is children learning about helping others, including the patients of St. Jude. Parents, grandparents or grandfriends, and others in the community will team up to support the hospital by pledging a donation for St. Jude Trike-A-Thon Week. Because no patient is ever denied treatment from St. Jude because of an inability to pay, funds from fundraisers, such as The Oakridge School ECC St. Jude Trike-A-Thon, help the hospital's mission of discovering cures and saving children's lives. Contact ECC Director Betty Garton at (817) 451-4994 or visit http://fundraising.stjude.org/oakridge for more information about how to donate.
This marks the 29th year that The Oakridge School has supported the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon and/or Math-A-Thon program. The school has raised $99,562 since it began in 1990. Last year the Trike-A-Thon raised $3,329. "Oakridge has a heart for children, especially those in need and we consider it a true honor to be able to help through events like the Trike-A-Thon," said Mrs. Garton. "Our families have given so much in the 29 years that we have been associated with this program and it is my hope that our efforts will continue and lead to more children living healthier, happier, and safer lives."
Since its founding in 1983, the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon program has raised more than $100 million. Visit www.stjude.org/trike for more information.
blewis - Posted Thursday, Mar 7, 2019 4:04:00 PM
Get ready to spring into action for The Oakridge School's 2nd Annual Picnic and Egg Hunt. The Saturday, April 6 event is open to Oakridge and non-Oakridge families alike, and will include a petting zoo, face painting, and a fun hunt of more than 1,500 eggs, 500 pieces of candy, and more.
"Events such as these have the opportunity to bring families of all backgrounds together and to foster a greater sense of community," said Nadia DiStefano, community engagement coordinator at The Oakridge School. "We were overwhelmed by the excitement and support that we received from more than 200 families and Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams last year, and we're honored to engage our community for a second straight year in what we feel is a very meaningful way."
WFAA-TV's Teresa Woodard, a respected journalist and winner of an Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow Award, will kick-off the celebration at the Oakridge Lower School Playground, 5900 W. Pioneer Parkway in Arlington (see campus map here). The event is free, but everyone is asked to RSVP at www.theoakridgeschool.org/community. A Dickey's Barbecue lunch will be available for purchase. Please call 817-363-9702 if you have any questions.
Start times for egg hunts vary for each age group:
Noon: Petting zoo, face painting, and picnic
1:30 p.m.: Egg hunt for children ages 5-10 begins
1:45 p.m.: Egg hunt for children ages 4 and under begins
About The Oakridge School
Established in 1979, The Oakridge School is a coeducational, college preparatory school for students in preschool through grade 12. The school draws a diverse student body from 36 area cities and 15 countries to a dynamic learning environment on a 100-acre campus in Arlington. The Oakridge School mission is to inspire students to seek their full potential in academics, the arts, and athletics in a challenging and nurturing environment that cultivates social responsibility, mutual respect, and personal integrity. To learn more about The Oakridge School, visit www.theoakridgeschool.org.
HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY, OWLS! We recently sat down with some of the visionaries behind The Oakridge School and are honored to share a special message from these VIPs. As we continue to celebrate our jubilee year in 2019, you'll also hear from Andy Broadus, Nancy O'Shea, Betty Garton, and many others who turned a dream into reality. #WeAreOakridge #OakOwls
blewis - Posted Monday, Feb 25, 2019 5:10:00 PM
More than 200 educators and professionals in educated-related fields from across the U.S. attended the 2019 LLI Southwest Conference held Feb. 21-22 at The Oakridge School. The theme of the gathering, "Making Learning Visible," did just that as teachers observed expert teachers interacting with students, demonstrating active learning, in real-time.
Oakridge students were in session for the first day of the conference and observers were able to ask questions, take notes, and offer resources or recommendations. These "Fishbowl' sessions were followed by thoughtful debriefs and practical takeaways for all educators.
Another major highlight of LLI Southwest was Friday's keynote with Dr. Anthony Brandt, music professor at Rice University and co-author of "The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World (Catapult, 2017)." Dr. Brandt discussed bending, breaking, and blending, or methods used to draw on experiences from an original to create things that don't yet exist. He said this process could be done whether dealing with movie-making, music, medicine, architecture, or other areas. He then encouraged the audience to treat every single child as a creative and to encourage risk-taking as it relates to a student's academic pursuits. "School may be the safest place to take risks," he said. "It should be like a trampoline. If you fail, you just bounce back up!"
Thursday's General Assembly with Dr. Bill Tsutsui of Hendrix College provided insight into the rebranding campaign that was undertaken by the Arkansas-based college. Tsutsui and Brandt both spoke to packed classrooms for their individual sessions. Tsutsui spoke on personal branding. Brandt discussed a principle that teaches key elements of creative thinking. Educational partners on hand to provide support, included: ALL In Learning, the Dallas Opera, JFSmith Group, Hapara, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT), Shurley Instructional Materials (SIM), Inc., EdPuzzle, and Future Problem Solving Program International (FPSPI). Many attendees said they felt empowered and equipped with new ideas for their own schools and were invigorated by the professional development. This year marked the third time that The Oakridge School has hosted LLI Southwest. The next LLI Conference will be held March 31-April 1 in Memphis, Tenn. More details are at: www.lausannelearning.com.
blewis - Posted Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019 5:30:00 PM
Save the date for The Oakridge School's production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical, State Fair. The show opens at 7 p.m. each night of its three-night run (Thursday, February 21, Friday, February 22, and Saturday, February 23). Tickets cost $10 and are on sale now. You may purchase them using the QR code on the posters around campus or visit Eventbrite for online purchasing.
Pictured in this story are members of the cast rehearsing on the stage of the Fine Arts Performance Hall in early January. The musical takes a glimpse into the life of a farming family, the Frakes, and their three-day adventure at the Iowa State Fair in 1946. While parents Abel and Melissa are hoping to win a few blue ribbons, siblings Margy and Wayne are more interested in finding romance on the midway.
blewis - Posted Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 4:09:00 PM
Student-centered learning is the focus of a major conference of educators being held Feb. 21-22 at The Oakridge School in Arlington. With the theme of the gathering, "Making Learning Visible," teachers, researchers, and education-related professionals will demonstrate hands-on skills for bringing relevant, authentic, and important concepts out of the innovation spaces and into everyday classrooms and curriculum.
A conference highlight, the fishbowl classrooms, will allow participants to see engaged students and teachers interacting in real-time and imagining transformation in our schools.
"LLI Southwest offers professionals, whether seasoned or new to education, unparalleled access to creative, collaborative, and practical learning," said Jon Kellam, Head of School at The Oakridge School.
"We're honored to host this gathering for the third straight year and hope teachers will return to their own schools and colleges invigorated and equipped with answers to pressing challenges in today's classrooms."
Dr. Anthony Brandt, professor and chair of Composition and Theory at Rice University, is the keynote speaker. He is the co-author of The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World, a book that is being released in ten countries and is the basis for the upcoming documentary, "The Creative Brain." He is also the co-founder and artistic director of the Houston-based contemporary music ensemble Musiqa. Watch Dr. Brandt's TEDxHouston talk about his curiosity and insights on the creative process here.
LLI Southwest 2019 will offer more than 30 diverse fishbowl sessions and 60-plus general sessions, including:
More than 25 schools will be presenting at LLI Southwest 2019. Conference registration is open at www.lausannelearning.com/ll-institutes/registration/.
This marks the third consecutive year that Oakridge, an independent, coeducational, college preparatory school, has hosted LLI Southwest. In 2016, the Institute named the school its Spotlight Award winner. The honor recognizes the most innovative independent school, from technology integration to student-centered curriculum. Visit www.theoakridgeschool.org for more information about our school or to schedule a campus tour.
blewis - Posted Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 3:20:00 PM
Music, dancing, fun and laughter were all part of a special educational presentation Thursday, Jan. 24 at The Oakridge School's Early Childhood Center. Andrés and Christina, the Latin Grammy Award-winning duo, better known as 123 Andrés, captivated the audience of Preschool through Grade 2 students with their songs and interactive performance.
Students were encouraged to speak words and numbers in English and Spanish, as they jumped and twirled to high-energy music played on a variety of instruments, including a guitar and clarinet. A frog puppet even got in on the act courtesy of Andrés. Watch a video of 123 Andrés here.
Currently, the duo has scheduled stops in Texas, New York, and California. They previously performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan, and the International Book Festival in Ciudad de Panamá. Their most recent album, La luna, is a collection of lullabies in Spanish. Before that, their dual-language album, Arriba Abajo, won the Latin Grammy for Best Children's Album in 2016, as well as the Parent's Choice Gold Award. Billboard has called the pair's work, "a Rockstar for little language learners."
The next Parent 2 Parent discussion series, "STEAM? Discover What and Why," will be held Friday, Feb. 1 from 12-1:30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Quinn Family Kindergarten Center.
Join Michelle Vaughn, Oakridge's Director of Technology and Modern Learning, and Assistant Director of Technology and Modern Learning Ashley Read to experience a STEAM lesson, first-hand, and to discover Oakridge's philosophy for the inclusion of STEAM across Preschool through Grade 6. Please bring a sack lunch and a friend. Hope to see you there.